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‘Kids feeding kids’

People of all ages gather at CCS to pack meals for hungry children

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Madison Brinkman, 5, of Webster City, is all smiles as she helps her group pack meals during the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event Saturday at Community Christian School.

Emily Thompson continues to be amazed at the level of support the Fort Dodge community shows for the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack effort.

More than 500 volunteers split into three different shifts on Saturday to bag meals for the hungry. The event was held inside the Community Christian School gym.

“It seems like a big undertaking to find 500 people to help, but it’s so easy to recruit and find people in Fort Dodge,” said Thompson, a member of the MobilePack planning committee. “It’s a really incredible glimpse into how much our community loves children and I am always stunned by the response of people in Fort Dodge to donate their time.”

The age of the volunteers ranged from 5 to 80. Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, coordinates the program, which sends thousands of meals to children in need.

The organization brought down a semitrailer load of ingredients to be bagged.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Erin Brookshire, director of the Dodger Academy program, left, pours a cup of rice into a bag of food held by Linda Cline, retired Webster County 4-H youth coordinator. Joely Gilbert, 11, a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, holding a spoonful of vitamins, and her cousin, Brielle Ehrhardt, 10, also a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, look on. Members of Noon Kiwanis, the K Kids Club and Dodger Academy, worked together in this group for the fifth annual Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event Saturday.

“There’s three staff members here from Feed My Starving Children and they can’t believe how committed our volunteers are and how hard they are working,” Thompson said.

The gym was set up for packing on Friday night.

Each station in the gym is set up to add four ingredients into a bag– vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice. The bags are then weighed and sealed at the same table.

Joely Gilbert, 11, a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, was busy scooping vitamins for her team.

She recognized the importance of her job.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Aubrey Rees, 9, a fourth-grader at Butler Elementary School, left, adds some ingredients to a bag of food during the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack at Community Christian School on Saturday. Her mother, Amanda Rees, of Fort Dodge, center, adds a spoonful of vitamins. Tiffany Wallace, of Fort Dodge, holds the bag. They were working in the Coldwell Banker group.

“We can help the homeless and make sure they have something to eat,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert was there with her cousin, Brielle Ehrhardt, 10, also a fifth-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School.

Ehrhardt was scooping the vegetables.

The two girls were working with the Noon Kiwanis, K-Kids Club and Dodger Academy.

Erin Brookshire, director of the Dodger Academy program, had a handle on the soy and rice.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Brooklyn Weisburg, 5, of Webster City, helps seal a bag of food during the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack at Community Christian School on Saturday. Ashley Ferrari, part of the Missionary Alliance Church in Blairsburg, is there for support.

“Kiwanis is one of our big sponsors for Dodger Academy,” Brookshire said. “We help each other out.”

At another table, Amanda Rees, of Fort Dodge, was working with her daughter, Aubrey Rees, in the Coldwell Banker group.

Aubrey Rees, 9, is a fourth-grader at Butler Elementary School.

Brooklyn Weisberg, 5, of Webster City, was used for her master bag sealing skills at another table.

Ashley Ferrari, a member of the Missionary Alliance Church in Blairsburg, was there to assist.

Thompson said the children volunteers are vital to the MobilePack’s success.

Each year $26,000 needs to be raised to cover the cost of food.

And Thompson said quite a bit of that was raised by student-led fundraisers.

“It’s really beautiful to see that,” Thompson said. “It’s kids feeding kids. They just understand that it’s devastating for a child not to have a meal to eat.”

Thompson was happy to announce that the MobilePack was on track to reach that $26,000 goal on Saturday.

Any extra money raised by the fundraiser will go to three ministries in Fort Dodge: The Salvation Army, the Beacon of Hope men’s shelter and the Lord’s Cupboard food pantry.

Scott Hatton, senior pastor at CrossWay Church, was impressed with the turnout.

“I love how the community comes together,” said Hatton, who had volunteered throughout the day in almost every capacity. “People have always given generously.”

The efforts of the volunteers at the MobilePack will result in 108,000 meals that will feed 300 children for a year.

“A whole year,” Thompson said.

For the five years that the MobilePack has been done in Fort Dodge, more than half a million meals have been packed.

Thompson said she won’t know until next week where the food will be shipped.

In previous years, the food has gone to Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Korea and Ukraine.

“It’s nice to see how much the community cares for children and how important it is to feed starving children around the globe,” Thompson said.